I absolutely love my daily commute to school. My commute is a lot longer than other students at CAPA, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Walking is my main mode of transportation to class, and it is roughly 25 to 30 minutes. I do have the option to take the bus, but unless it is torrential down pouring, I opt to walk. The bus system, using an app on my phone, is actually incredibly easy. The busses here are actually way more efficient and much easier to navigate than the ones in Pittsburgh. What I love most about my daily commute is that I take a different route every day. There are multiple ways to get to school, so I always try to switch it up. I love taking in the new sights and stopping at different cafes for my daily cappuccino. With all the incredible and carb-heavy food, I am thankful I have to walk over a mile to school each day. It has definitely been an adjustment compared to my 5 to 10-minute walk back at Pitt. The only downfall to my commute is that once I go to class, I am pretty much stuck there for the day. I can’t just go home for lunch and to relax without it being an hour long ordeal.
I pass some pretty cool things on my way to class. To begin, walking past the Duomo never gets old. It’s massive, detailed, beauty blows my mind every single time I see it. My only complaint when walking by it are the large crowds of tourists. I also sometimes walk by the Accademia Gallery, which houses the David by Michelangelo. It’s pretty awesome getting to walk by one the of the world’s most beloved sculptures on my way to school. Each route allows me to pass various churches and structures dating back past the birth of the United States. Being surrounded by such ancient history on every street is something I am so appreciative of.
I have a lot of travel tips for other students studying abroad in Florence. Although I’ve only been here about 6 weeks, I have already learned so much about traveling. Here is are few tips I’ve compiled:
- Fly out of Florence when you can – it is a lot trains, busses, extra fees, and extra time when flying out of Bologna or Pisa. Even if the flight out of Florence is more expensive, in the long run, it will probably end up being cheaper.
- Download the Moovit app for the busses – it makes finding a bus so easy!
- Always have cash to take a taxi – while some do accept cards, it is better to be safe than sorry.
- Print out all of your travel documents before you go on a trip – although most tickets can be scanned on your phone, there is always the chance of your phone dying or it to stop working for some reason.
- Buy your train tickets in advance – it may cost more online with transaction fees, but it is much better than getting to the station and seeing that the train you need is sold out (this happened to me yesterday)
To conclude, my daily commute to class is awesome. I know I’m going to miss it when I return to the States, so I try to appreciate it every single day. Traveling abroad is definitely a learning experience. You are going to miss trains, you are going to make mistakes, you are going to have slight breakdowns in an airport when you think you won’t make it to your gate on time. My best advice is take each bump in the road and to learn from it. I can already tell that this experience abroad is helping me grow as a person.